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Line 215. Then he's a rogue, after a passy-measure, or a pavin, &c.] A passy-measure pavin may perhaps mean a pavin danced out of time. Sir Toby might call him by this title, because he was drunk at a time when he should have been sober, and in a condition to attend on the wounded knight.
This dance is mentioned in Stephen Gosson's Schoole of Abuse, containing a pleasaunt Invective against Poets, Pipers, &c. 1579. It is enumerated as follows, among other dances:
"Dumps, pavins, galliardes, measures, fancyes, or newe "streynes." I do not, at last, see how the sense will completely quadrate on the present occasion. STEEVENS.
Line 234. A natural perspective,] A perspective seems to be taken for shows exhibited through a glass with such lights as make the pictures appear really protuberant. The Duke therefore says, that nature has here exhibited such a show, where shadows seem realities; where that which is not appears like that which is.
JOHNSON. Line 302. A most extracting frenzy-] i. c. A frenzy that drew me away from every thing but its own object.
Line 316. —you must allow vor.] The Clown begins reading the letter in some fantastical manner, on which Olivia asks him, if he is mad. No, madam, says he, I do but barely deliver the sense of this madman's epistle; if you would have it read as it ought to be, that is, with such a frantic accent and gesture as a madman would read it, you must allow vox, i. e. you must furnish the reader with a voice, or, in other words, read it yourself.
Line 319. but to read his right wits,] To represent his present state of mind, is to read a madman's letter, as I now do, like a madman. JOHNSON.
Line 339. One day shall crown the alliance on't, so please you,] The word on't, in this place, is mere nonsense. I doubt not the poet wrote,an't so please you. HEATH.
This is well conjectured; but on't may relate to the double character of sister and wife. JOHNSON.
Line 346. -against the metal of your sex,] Metal here means delicacy and softness.
Line 373. geck,] A fool.
lighter-] People of less dignity or import
Presuppos'd rather seems to mean previously pointed out for thy
Line 395. importance,] i. e. Importunity.
END OF THE ANNOTATIONS ON TWELFTH-NIGHT.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
ACT I. SCENE I.
LINE 5. Since I am put to know,] May mean, I am obliged to acknowledge.
lists] Bounds, limits.
Then no more remains,
But that to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,
And let them work.] That this passage is more or less
corrupt, I believe every reader will agree. There was probably some original obscurity in the expression, which gave occasion to mistake in repetition or transcription. I therefore suspect that the author wrote thus:
-Then no more remains,
But that to your sufficiencies your worth is abled,
Then nothing remains more than to tell you, that your virtue is now invested with power equal to your knowledge and wisdom. Let there fore your knowledge and your virtue now work together. It may easily be conceived how sufficiencies was, by an inarticulate speaker, or inattentive hearer, confounded with sufficiency as, and how abled,
a word very unusual, was changed into able. For abled, however,
an authority is not wanting.
For common justice, you are as pregnant in,] I think the Duke meant to say, that Escalus was pregnant, that is, ready and knowing in all the forms of law, and, among other things, in the terms or times set apart for its administration. JOHNSON.
Line 18. For you must know, we have with special soul
Elected him our absence to supply;] By the words with special soul elected him, I believe, the poet meant no more than that he was the immediate choice of his heart.
A similar expression occurs in the Tempest:
-" for several virtues
"Have I lik'd several women, never any
"With so full soul, but some defect," &c. STEEVENS. Line 30. There is a kind of character in thy life,
That, to the observer, &c.] Shakspeare must, I believe, be answerable for the unnecessary solemnity (which Dr. Johnson justly condemns) of this introduction. He has the same thought in Henry IV. p. 2. which is the best comment on this passage.
"There is a history in all mens' lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceas'd: "The which observ'd, a man may prophecy "With a near aim, of the main chance of things "As yet not come to life," &c. Line 36. -for if our virtues, &c.] Paulum sepulta distat inertiæ Celata virtus
-to fine issues:] To great consequences. For high purposes. JOHNSON. Line 44. Both thanks and use.] i. e. Both thanks and interest. ·44. — I do bend my speech
To one that can my part in him advertise ;] The meaning is, I direct my speech to one who is able to teach me how to govern: my part in him, signifying my office, which I have delegated to him. My part in him advertise; i. e. who knows what appertains to the character of deputy or viceroy. WARBURTONI